Sunday, 1 March 2020

TLFG: 2-8 March 2020

Greetings and welcome to this week's guide to all that's going on in the world of London football.

How has your week been? Did you get to a game?

I didn't but I was briefly given the opportunity to guide a few Swiss football tourists around Shepherds Bush and White City showing them the area's rich Olympic heritage before they went to watch QPR draw with Birmingham.

The group was led by German football author and publisher Christoph Beutenmuller whose works include 'Der London Fussball Guide' which I've mentioned on here before - if you're a German speaker and planning a visit here, then I recommend you get a copy.


'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Sutton Common Rovers

The itinerary also included an official tour of QPR, a trip to Harrow School to explore some of the roots of the game itself and a visit to Wembley for the Carabao Cup Final.

I'm sure he'll be running another trip in the future so contact him if you're interested.

Anyway, I think that's it from me. Enjoy your week - there are a lot of midweek games as a result of all the recent postponements so fill your boots!

Lastly, many thanks to Christoph (mentioned above) who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. Cheers!

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, National League and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - blue pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 2 March

Premier League 2 & Professional Development League
The week begins with a great selection of U23 matches spread throughout the day so you can easily see two. However, the pick of the matches which feature Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are both taking place just outside London at Aldershot Town and Stevenage respectively. West Ham United, Crystal Palace and QPR also have games too

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Brentwood Town @745pm - the best non-league option is to be found on the far east side of town where the promotion chasing Millers play host to fellow Essex side Brentwood who are fighting to avoid the drop

ECL Division 1 South
Barkingside v Holland @745pm - if you'd prefer something a little more niche then this top-six clash from the 10th tier could be more to your liking - unsurprisingly the visitors wear orange

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Tuesday 25 February

FA Cup Fifth Round
Chelsea v Liverpool @745pm - it's all change in the FA Cup where for the first time ever, the Fifth Round ties will all be played in midweek, between Monday and Thursday, with no replays. Undoubtedly the tie of the round, this match between two of the biggest clubs in the land has been selected for live broadcast on BBC One. It's just as well because it's sold out and there's little way you'll get to see it without being a season-ticket holder, member or are prepared to pay a small fortune for hospitality

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v Monaco @7pm - the next best thing would appear to be this glamorous European U23 tie. This competition is now at the quarter-final stage and shows off some of the best of the continent's young talent. It is being played at Boreham Wood

National League
Barnet v Boreham Wood @745pm - arguably of far more importance is this north London derby between two sides with hopes of promotion. The visitors are already an established part of the top seven but the Bees have the games in hand to catch up. However, a lot will depend on the weather as Barnet's pitch has been really poor of late and saw yet another postponement last week

SCEFL Premier Division
Beckenham Town v AFC Croydon Athletic @745pm - in the ninth tier there's a game of huge importance at either end of the table with the Becks going for the title and the Rams battling the drop. It's also a local derby so there's plenty riding on it

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Wednesday 4 March

FA Cup Fifth Round
Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City @745pm - given that Spurs are out of the title race and look like losing to RB Leipzig in the Champions League, you'd hope that Jose Mourinho will really go for this as it's his only realistic chance of silverware this season. With eight titles, Tottenham are one of the most successful clubs in the competition's history and I still find it hard to believe that they haven't won it since 1991. In struggling Norwich they face a very winnable tie but I hear the Canaries have sold 9,000 tickets and they've got little to lose. The good news is, you could be there too as tickets are on sale to non-members

Isthmian League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Haringey Borough @745pm - as a result of good cup runs, both these sides have games in hand on those above them. However, even if they won them all they'd still be short of the play-off places so this looks very much like a midtable battle for position

CCL Division 1
Kensington & Ealing Borough v Westside @745pm - the hosts have lost a lot of games to bad weather so to make up the backlog of fixtures they've been given permission to play a few home games on the 4G pitch at Club Des Sports on the Acton/Shepherds Bush border. Although there isn't a lot of cover, the clubhouse and other facilities are said to be great and it's free to get in. The novelty drew a decent Step 6 crowd of 71 for the first match there on Saturday. The move has also now made them my local non-league club and one of the most centrally located in London being only about four miles from Marble Arch/Oxford Street. Both sides actually have quite a few games in hand but if K&EB win theirs then automatic promotion could well be on the cards. UPDATE - this match has now been moved to Raynes Park Vale. However, NW London are supposed to be playing a game at Club Des Sports on Saturday
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Thursday 5 March

ECL Division 1 South
Fire United v Halstead Town @745pm - there's one game on Thursday night and it's not a hugely enticing one. Fire United are languishing at the bottom of the 10th tier with only one victory all season. Halstead should win

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Friday 6 March

Premier League 2
Watford v Crystal Palace @1pm - there's a decent bit of U23 action on Friday - it's a derby of sorts and it's being played at Vicarage Road where it's £3 to get in

ECL Division 1 South
May & Baker v Frenford @745pm - M&B provide a Friday night non-league option for the second week in a row as they welcome east Londoners Frenford to Parkside. Although a long shot, a title challenge still isn't out of the question for the hosts
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Saturday 7 March

Premier League
Arsenal v West Ham United @3pm - last week both these sides surprised me. The Gunners suffered an unexpected home defeat by Olympiakos to exit the Europa League whilst West Ham almost got something out of their trip to Liverpool and beat Southampton with ease as David Moyes sent out a far more hungry looking team. Arsenal have a tricky cup match at Portsmouth on Monday night which could go a long way to defining their season - if they lose again then they might as well give up and go home. The Hammers don't have a great record at the Emirates Stadium but on current form could well get something. Tickets are not available to non-members
Crystal Palace v Watford @3pm - both these sides had a great weekend with Palace winning at big rivals Brighton and the Hornets somehow beating leaders Liverpool with ease. The Eagles' win puts them on the verge of survival for another year and it will be a real shock if they go down. Watford, however, are still very much in the fight to avoid the drop but they'll have no reason to fear anyone given their last result. If you do want to go, a few restricted view tickets are still available to non-members in the away end

Championship
Brentford v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - the Bees blew a two-goal lead at Cardiff on Saturday to only draw and extend their winless streak to five games. Amazingly, with other results going their way, they've barely moved in the table and are still fifth. Automatic promotion looks out of the question now, but a play-off place is theirs to lose. Sheffield Wednesday were up there with them a couple of months ago but their form has also deserted them and midtable is where they're likely to finish. Nonetheless, the match is pretty much sold out with any remaining tickets going to members only
Charlton Athletic v Middlesbrough @3pm - one of the most important games of the day takes place at The Valley where we have this huge relegation six-pointer between two former Premier League clubs faced with a drop into the third tier. The Addicks have shown flashes of inspiration in recent weeks and two wins from five have given them a chance but the teams around them have also started winning. So instead of moving away from the bottom three, they've actually got a lot closer to it. Middlesbrough have the worst form have anyone in the bottom six and simply must be beaten. Tickets are available to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bolton Wanderers @3pm - although they're still well down the table, the Dons look like they're going to survive. A fine win at Gillingham on Saturday left them eight points clear of the relegation zone and although some of the teams below them have games in hand, their form is pretty good and they should do it. Bolton are bottom and haven't won for a while so another three points looks probable here. Tickets are available to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Cambridge United @3pm - with both sides in no real danger of getting promoted or relegated, this is one for groundhoppers and those doing 'the 92'. With only one defeat in five, the O's have improved considerably of late but in Cambridge they face a bit of a bogey team. Their home record against them in recent years has been poor, with their last win way back in 1999. Tickets are available to non-members

National League
Sutton United v Torquay United @3pm - unusually there is only one fifth-tier match in London on Saturday and it's between two midtable teams. The division is so tight that both are still capable of being promoted or relegated with 11 games to go. In reality they're unlikely to do either but it means they still have plenty to play for. Former EFL side Torquay are one of the best supported clubs in the division so should bring a sizeable following.

National League South
Wealdstone v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - there's also only one game in the sixth tier but it's a big one as the division's top club play it's best supported one. Much has been written about these London clubs this season but to re-cap, the Stones have been fantastic all season and pretty much led from day one whilst Dulwich have been pulling in crowds of 2,000-3,000 despite being in terrible form and fighting for their lives to stay up. It's should be a cracker!

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Swindon Supermarine @3pm -  in the seventh tier we've got a very interesting looking top five clash between two sides looking to make sure of a play-off place. The hosts are on a seven-game unbeaten run which actually saw them play Swindon away in a re-arranged match last week - it finished 1-1. That result should give them great confidence of being able to at least repeat that scoreline and possibly get more

Isthmian League South Central
Hanwell Town v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - the hosts have been top for most of the season but they didn't play on Saturday and saw Ware move three points clear with a draw against Marlow. Although Hanwell have two games in hand, the table is still tight and they need to win big games like this. Tooting were also among the frontrunners but have lost form and even with some games in hand themselves, a play-off spot is the best they can hope for now. A win here is almost essential for them

SSML Premier Division
Oxhey Jets v Tring Athletic @3pm - this match between two of the division's top five appears to be the best on offer in the ninth tier on Saturday. Oxhey are the top TLFG club in this league and are well capable of cracking into the top four. Tring are second and don't look like getting any higher with leaders Colney Heath eight points clear and in possession of a game in hand

SSML Division 1
New Salamis v St Panteleimon @3pm - being played at Enfield Town's ground, this top-two clash between sides from the Greek Cypriot community was easy to pick as the featured game in the 10th tier. Saints are nine points clear so winning this could effectively make the title theirs

MCFL Premier Division Cup Semi-Final
Clapton CFC v London Samurai Rovers @2pm - although it's only a cup competition for 11th tier sides, it should draw a big crowd to Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow. Clapton CFC have been averaging very lively crowds of nearly 500 this season which is astounding for a club at this level. The two sides are pretty evenly matched and are both in contention for the league title too. Entry is by donation. UPDATE - this match has been moved to Mabley Green 3G facility near Hackney Wick.

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Sunday 8 March


Premier League
Chelsea v Everton @2pm - the weekend comes to a close with the Carlo Ancelotti derby as the Italian brings his new Toffees side back to Stamford Bridge where he won the Premier League and FA Cup in his first season before being surprisingly sacked the following season after finishing second. So successful was his brief time at Chelsea that he achieved the third highest win ratio of any manager in Premier League history. Back to the present and Everton have improved noticeably in the short time he's been there but he got himself sent off on Sunday after arguing with the referee during their draw with Manchester United. Tickets are not available to non-members

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
Enfield Town v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - with the Super League taking a break for the SheBelieves Cup in the USA, the focus falls on some of the other divisions. There are several matches on Sunday with this top five encounter at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium appearing to be the best on offer


GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up about the Arsenal U23 vs Man City game last Friday. A decent crowd and it's a nice way to visit a good stadium cheaply. There are always loads of young kids and families there, which is nice to see.

    Man City U23's had Leroy Sane playing 60 minutes, he was clearly a class above. He was replaced by a 16 y.o. lad by the name of Liam Delap. I suspected he was the son on Rory, and this was confirmed by the lady who was sat next to me - Rory's wife and Liam's mum!

    After going 1-0 down in the first couple of minutes due to a 'keeping blunder, City eventually ran out 2-4 winners, despite a few Arsenal first teamers in their side.

    For £4 I can't imagine that there's much better value in any games anywhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to help and for the round-up of what happened. I'm surprised and disappointed that the big clubs don't make more of their U23 games as they are a great option for a lot of fans.

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